Martine Rolls: Confidence best fashion accessory

While busying myself searching for an outfit to wear to the Canon Media Awards night this Friday, as finalist in the Best Website Breaking News Coverage category, I find getting ready for a big event is really hard work.

I am half-way there. My hair already has a gorgeous new colour and the appointment for a manicure is scheduled for today. But I still need to shop for shoes, book a facial, arrange a time for the makeup artist to come and work her magic on me, and organise my accessories.

All this fussing is so unlike me. My usual ritual is a five-minute shower, a bit of mascara and out the door. I do wonder how some women do it, those ladies who always look perfect.

Apparently, high cheekbones, full lips and large eyes are the closest to the ideal ratios of the "perfect" face. The ideal size for a woman is still tiny. We are also expected to be smart, perfect mothers, to keep our homes immaculate, be fabulous cooks and have an exciting career at the same time. No pressure.

I read on that Vogue magazine has recently vowed to ban models under 16 or those with visible signs of an eating disorder.

The 19 editors of Vogue around the world made the promise, beginning with June issues and including editions in America, France, Britain and China.

They also encouraged fashion designers to reconsider "unrealistically" small sample sizes that make ultra-thin models necessary in the first place.

What Vogue failed to do though, was address the digital alteration of photos which is common practice in the advertising industry.

That same evening, I came across a post on Facebook that asked the question: Is the "real-life Barbie" beautiful or creepy?

It deals with a 21-year-old Ukrainian model named Valeria Lukyanova. With her doll-like facial features, vacant stare, long blonde hair, tiny waist and huge breasts that are disproportionate to her figure she really does look like the famous doll.

On her blog, the "real-life Barbie" claims to be the most famous Russian woman on the internet. She certainly gained popularity over the past few weeks as her photos went viral and generated much discussion.

People questioned whether she is indeed a real person who has had lots of plastic surgery, while others suggest that her photos have been seriously touched up with Photoshop.

As of yesterday, Lukyanova had 166,456 followers on her VK, which is a social network service that is popular in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Belarus. It's not a lot when compared to the 50 million fans that Colombian pop star Shakira now has on Facebook, but still an impressive number.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

I also read that Lukyanova is not the first girl to rock the dolls trend. Fifteen-year-old Venus Palermo (Venus Angelic) and 16-year-old Dakota Rose (Dakotakoti) are two other girls who have become internet sensations because of their "Living Doll" look.

Both girls have personal YouTube channels and frequently post tutorials that teach other girls how to achieve the doll-like look through make-up and fashion.

On the Media Awareness Network, a Canadian website that deals with the development of media literacy and digital literacy programmes, I read the following:

"Researchers generating a computer model of a woman with Barbie-doll proportions found that her back would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body, and her body would be too narrow to contain more than half a liver and a few centimetres of bowel. A real woman built that way would suffer from chronic diarrhoea and eventually die from malnutrition." I'd rather live in the real world. There is no way I will get up two hours earlier in the morning just to do my hair, and I will certainly not spend my precious free time in front of the mirror plucking my eyebrows.

I have always liked the Real Beauty marketing campaign that was launched by Dove in 2004 and is still going strong today. The principle behind it is to celebrate the natural physical variation embodied by all women, and to inspire them to have the confidence to be comfortable with who they are and what they look like, even if they are not considered to be gorgeous looking.

To me, the main thing that brings out inner beauty is confidence. Some of the most beautiful women I have met may have been called old and overweight by others. The world is such a scary place for those who don't like themselves.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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